Clever, amusing, and memorable your cellphones' ring tone may be. But new research claims that it may be so distracting that it causes those around you to remember less information, and need more time to get back to top speed after it stops ringing!

The study was published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. It was based on research with college students, who were asked to take some tests that would require them to concentrate. During the tests, a cell phone would ring, playing either a standard ring, a repeated single tone, or a recognizable song. Any ringing slowed down the students' ability to concentrate. But the recognizable song proved to be most distracting.

Another test had students listen to a lecture, followed by a quiz. One group of students had their lecture distracted by a cell-phone ringing, while the other had no call. The students who had a call scored up to 25% lower than those who had no distractions.

Knowing this, how can you be a more polite phone user at work or in group settings? Obviously, turn off your ringer if you can. If you can't-

Lose the attention-getting ringtone.People frequently get intersted in a popular song used as a ringtone. Switch over to one of the tones provided with your phone;

Warn people that you may be getting a call.This is especially important in group meetings. Knowing a ringtone may go off at any moment makes it less of a distraction;

and finally, Turn off your phone while drivi9ng when possible. Seems pretty obvious. But the study team speculates that, if a phone ringing distracts students taking a test, it's quite likely to do the same to people at the wheel.

What's the most annoying ringtone you've heard? It's not yours, is it?  Well, tell us anyway, either here or on our Facebook page...

[Rodale.com, via msnbc.com]